Laurie Morrison’s Keeping Pace is a poignant middle-grade novel about friends-turned-rivals training for a half-marathon—and rethinking what it means to win and what they mean to each other.
Grace Eller has spent most of middle school working toward one goal: beating her former friend Jonah Perkins’s GPA so she can be the best student in her class. But when Jonah beats her for eighth grade top scholar and then announces he’s switching schools for ninth grade, it feels like none of Grace’s academic accomplishments have really mattered. They weren’t enough to win—or to impress her dad. And the summer looms over her head. With nothing planned and no more goals or checklists, she doesn’t know what she’s supposed to be working toward.
Eager for a chance to even the score with Jonah, she signs up for the Labor Day half-marathon that she and Jonah used to talk about running together someday. Maybe if she can beat Jonah on race day, she’ll feel OK again. But as she begins training with Jonah and checking off a new list of summer goals, she starts to expand her ideas of what—and who—really matters.
Engaging and heartfelt, Keeping Pace is about wanting to win at all costs—and having to learn how to fail.